By Obioma A.
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has appealed to the governors and members of the State House of Assembly of Ebonyi, Imo, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Plateau, Niger, Kwara, Nasarawa, Benue, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe States, to in the interest rebuilding Nigeria for the better, support and pass into law the local government autonomy bill.
NULGE also named and appreciated the governors and State House of Assembly of Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ogun, Osun, Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Kogi and Katsina, for passing the bill into law, while it however frown at Ekiti and Lagos States for voting against LG autonomy. The union went on to call on the government of the two States to rethink their decision and stand by the wish of Nigerian people instead of kicking against it.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on the current situation in its pursuit to achieving local government autonomy, NULGE National President, Comrade Olatunji Ambali, expressed disappointment that Lagos State government could join Ekiti in working and voting against the long waited actualization of local government autonomy.
While he called on President Mohammadu Buhari, to boldly use his position both as number one stakeholder in the ruling All Progressive Congress party (APC) and as President of Nigeria to support and canvass for local government autonomy, he charges the President to use the opportunity created by the clamoring of Nigerians for LG autonomy, to set a legacy that will write his name in gold in the history of Nigeria.
His words; “The moves to free local government system from the current destructive tendencies, occasion by various State governments have been on. Let me quickly appreciate the novel role of Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who through his actions and body language, supported realisation of local government autonomy, which suppose to be a service center, the closest to the grassroot.
“Let me also quickly appreciate the role of the National Assembly in passing the local government autonomy bill alongside so many bills that were transmitted over two months ago to State Assembly. Comrades we have realized too that up till now, we have only 12 States that have attended to that bill. 10 passed the bill and transmitted back to the National assembly while two voted against it.
“Among the 10 States that passed the bill, Abia blazed the trail by being the first State to pass the autonomy bill. Followed by Anambra, Enugu. That is in the south eastern part of the country. Why in southwest Ogun and Osun State also passed it. South South; Edo, Akwa Ibom and Delta States passed the bill.
“In the North Central only Kogi State passed the bill. In the Northwest, only Katsina passed the bill. No State in the Northeast has passed it as at now. While Ekiti State government under Comrade Fayemi, voted against the peoples wish, the same thing happened in Lagos State whereby the State Assembly voted against autonomy.
“We want to appreciate those States House Assembly who decided to stand with Nigerian people, who also realized the need to stem this tide of destruction that is currently being witnessed in Nigeria, in the area of insecurity, in the area of poverty, in the area of joblessness, in the area of lack of infrastructure for Nigerians and also a positive attempt to stem the tide of rural urban drift.
“As at today, all of us knew that Nigeria is bleeding. And the solution to fixing Nigeria is to allow local government to be completely autonomous. Unless we’re able to do that, Nigeria will continue to the negative slide towards disintegration. Nigeria as a nation that is comprised of many nations, and because of that, we need to give a political space of inclusivity to Nigeria, so that everybody will have a sense of belonging.
“Haven said that, we want to appeal to those States that are yet to pass local government bill, like Ebonyi, Imo, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Plateau, Niger, Kwara, Nasarawa, Benue, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe States to please passed the local government autonomy bill.
“In fact, because of the impact of terrorism and banditry, we expect the northern part of the country to prioritize passage of local government autonomy. Because all security challenges are local and the solution to it is local. And if you want to stem this ugly trend, local government must be allowed to be functional, must be allowed to arrest spite of insecurity and provide motorable rural road for Nigerian people.
“As of today, there is heavy migration from rural to urban area, base on lack of basic social amenities of life, lack of infrastructure, lack of adequate security. As at today, is only the city capitals that are fortified when we talk about security, leaving the roots vulnerable and open to banditry and criminalities.”